In the next 60 seconds, you’ll learn how one key skill can revolutionize your executive performance. Ready? Set. Go!
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Too many executives undervalue the skill of listening. We’re so focused on making decisions and moving on that we often “hear the words” without actually listening to what others are really saying.
“I only wish I could find an institute that teaches people how to listen. Business people need to listen at least as much as they need to talk. Too many people fail to realize that real communication goes in both directions.” ―Lee Iacocca
The executive mind often has a hard time limiting itself to one task at a time. In a conversation, we may try to predict what the other person will say next, or compare what they’re saying to our own experiences. Executives often jump quickly to conclusions in search of the “bottom line.”
All the time spent in these and other distracting thoughts is time not really listening. This causes us to miss subtle details that can be crucial to the issue at hand. This flaw is almost universal, and I have seen it in one executive after another.
Why We Need to Listen
Learning to truly listen can help you with all of the following:
- Make better decisions
- Strengthen relationships
- Align teams
- Uncover blind spots
In his book Power Listening: Mastering the Most Critical Business Skill of All, business consultant Bernard T. Ferrari writes, “Power listening—the art of probing and challenging the information garnered from others to improve its quality and quantity—is the key to building a knowledge base that generates fresh insights.” This means doing more than hearing what someone is saying. By digging deeper into the facts behind their words, you can immediately improve the quality of the information you use to make decisions.
Really listening to someone is also one of the best ways to show that you value them. People know when you are truly listening, and it can have a tremendous impact.
There’s only so much you can learn about listening by reading, though. The fastest way to improve is to work with an executive coach. If you are a bona fide CEO or senior executive, click the button below to schedule the first of several complimentary coaching sessions.
When you listen, what is your mind doing?
What kind of feedback have you received about your listening skills?
What actions are you taking to improve your listening ability?
During conversation, regularly take a moment to ask yourself whether you are really listening.
Executives often take huge strides toward optimal performance when they improve this one key skill. Listen well. Pay attention. Ask more questions. Make the most of your conversations, and the return on investment will amaze you.